2014 olympic opening ceremony halted by late-night lab results.

While Andrew and I were watching the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Olympics Friday, I got a call from Madeline’s endocrinologist.

Back story:
After a requested thyroid work-up (because of my Graves Disease), which involved an extremely traumatic blood-draw aka they stuck her three times looking for a vein (she cried and I cried), we discovered that Maddie’s TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) was slightly elevated. It required follow-up labs.

So early last week, Andrew and I took Madeline to a pediatric endocrinologist in Fayetteville. Dr. Gan was kind, gentle with our timid girl, a good listener and a great explainer. She suspected Maddie’s numbers were just a fluke, given her otherwise good health and demeanor. But she agreed we should retest her. Before sending her down to the on-site lab, the doctor put a bandage onto Madeline’s arm that was filled with a numbing cream, meant to make the needle less painful.

When our name was called in the lab, I prepared Andrew for the worst. This could be really bad. If they miss on the first try we’re pulling her out. We’re not going to put her through that again. I couldn’t take it. He agreed and sat down with her on his lap, his arms around her. I pulled out her lamby and started doing an extremely ridiculous song and dance to distract her. The nurse smiled at me and got down to business.

The numbing cream had burned Maddie’s skin a bit, leaving it red when the nurse wiped it all away. But when she stuck her with the needle and began searching for her tiny vein, Madeline remained calm. She couldn’t feel a thing! And when the nurse couldn’t find a vein and asked to try again, we agreed she could. She found one on her second try, and while we waited for the vial to fill up, I drew pictures on a magna doodle for Maddie to look at and sang songs. The nurse finished and bandaged her and we left, without a tear having been shed (except of course for when the nurse upstairs had attempted to weigh Maddie- that hit a little too close to home).

This cream was miraculous, and I wish I had gotten it’s name. But now that I know it exists, I think I will have to insist on it’s use for any future blood work.

Anyway, back to the phone call. Dr. Gan (who was working at 9PM on a Friday night, during the Olympics- committed much!?) gave us the biggest news of the night (bigger than the fifth Olympic ring not opening)- Madeline’s labs came back normal! She would require no treatment and no further care at her office. I cheered, as relief washed over me. Then I thanked the doctor for giving Maddie the numbing cream. It had been a total game-changer, I told her. I could hear her smiling, as she brushed it off, calling it nothing. But it was something. To have met a doctor who cared about my daughter within moments of meeting her, but who she would probably never see again (since her gut feeling ended up being right), was a rarity. I was grateful, and I told her so. People should know when they are appreciated.

I told her to have a great night, and we hung up. I one-it-upped to Dr. Gan, and then Andrew and I talked about how grateful we are to have such a beautiful, smart and, most importantly, healthy little girl.

Then we went back to the most spectacular opening ceremony since Beijing. Boom. I went there.

Did you guys watch? Sarah…I know you did. What did you think??

nothing but baby.

In case there was any chance I had forgotten, this week reminded me that I will soon be a mother.

Monday night, I went to a childbirth class. Andrew wasn’t able to go with me, because he had a OPORD to brief the next day and had to practice with his partner. He missed the tour of the hospital where I will be delivering. They showed us the (private!) L&D rooms (complete with enormous spotlight that descends from the ceiling as you are crowning, so that everyone can really  see everything), the (private!) recovery rooms (which look a little bit like prison cells), the ORs and the NICU.

On the one hand, I was glad to see everything beforehand. It was like a trial run of what I will go through in just about five weeks. No surprises. On the other hand, I could have done without seeing the woman in labor, being wheeled into the room our tour group had just occupied. She was laying on her side on a stretcher, her face hidden by her arm, and she looked to be about 3/4 of the way to death. Turns out she was 10cm and ready to push when she was admitted. She was asking for an epidural which they couldn’t give to her, and they were telling her not to push because her doctor wasn’t there yet…. Yeah… Not my favorite memory of that “class.”

My second not-favorite memory of that “class?” Watching the birth video. I am a firm believer that a woman who is 34 weeks pregnant should not be shown a video of an actual vaginal birth. There’s just not much else to say about it besides, “I could have done without that, too.”

On Tuesday, I went to my non-stress test (NST) at Maternal Fetal Medicine. I go for these tests twice a week. If the baby were to present with a consistent elevated heart rate, we might assume she was hyperthyroid and potentially need to be delivered early. Also they check to see how she tolerates activity in the womb and contractions. Turns out, I had quite the stressed out uterus that morning. I had seven contractions in the 20 minutes I was hooked up to the monitors. This worried the tech and the doctor, and I was checked for dilation. Luckily, the shop was all closed up. They sent me home without further explanation.

Tuesday night, I continued to regularly (but painlessly) contract.

Wednesday morning- more of the same. So I called my OB, wondering if I was just supposed to allow this to go on. They told me to come in right away. So in I went. I was swabbed for a fetal fibronectin test– negative, checked for dilation- closed and given another NST- still contracting. All, for the most part, indicated that I was not in preterm labor. But they told me to come back Thursday for another NST. They also advised me up up my water/gatorade intake (which I did), in case I was dehydrated.

Thursday, I went in for the NST- contracting much more infrequently and mildly. The results were encouraging, and the baby continues to tolerate everything perfectly. I was relieved and reassured that the little lady wouldn’t be making her debut anytime soon.

Friday, I had an appointment with my endocrinologist. Andrew was able to attend this appointment with me, which I know he was happy about. We have been pretty fearful of the effects my Graves Disease and hypothyroidism will have on our daughter. And to date, this doctor, Dr. Leichter (who has 43 years as an endocrinologist) in Columbus, GA, has been the only person able to educate and reassure us enough that, so long as my thyroid levels (specifically my TSH) are kept in a normal range, our baby will be born healthy.

Five straight days of nothing but baby.

And as if that wasn’t enough of a reminder, today, I put on a maternity swimsuit and “swam” laps in the indoor pool on post. You’re already laughing? I’ll do you one better. Picture a beluga whale who has lost her buoyancy, in a black polka dot tankini, using a bright blue lifebelt and kick boards to stay afloat and maneuver up and down the “medium” speed lap lane. Got it? Well, that was me. All 35 weeks of me and my smokin’ hot, fast moving baby-bod.

This is my life, and it’s all a little surreal. I’m huge. I’m uncomfortable. I’m tired. I’m hungry. I’m hot. I’m impatient. I’m pregnant. I’m having a baby. I’m round. I’m incubating. I’m healthy. I’m nurturing. I’m prepared. I’m excited. And I am so, so blessed. A little nervous, too.